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Settlers, Palestinians Clash in Hebron

The Israeli army and witnesses say at least four people were wounded Saturday when Jewish settlers and Palestinian residents hurled stones at each other in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The military said Israeli security forces moved in to try to separate the two sides.

The violence erupted near a building under disputed ownership. Hardline Jewish settlers took over the building in March of 2007, saying they had bought it from its Palestinian owner, who denies having sold it to them. An Israeli court ordered them out of the building on November 16th, but they have been refusing to go.

Earlier Saturday, the Islamist movement Hamas claimed responsibility for a rocket attack Friday on an Israeli army base near the Gaza Strip that wounded eight soldiers.

Israeli officials said three mortar shells were fired across the border from Gaza.

A different Palestinian militant group, the Popular Resistance Committees, had earlier claimed responsibility for the mortar fire.

Violence has been increasing despite a truce between Israel and Hamas reached in June.

Israel has responded by tightening its blockade of Gaza, making it difficult for food, supplies and other humanitarian aid to reach thousands of Palestinians.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.